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Humanising Language Teaching

Some Ideas on How to Use the British National Corpus On-line: Using the Discovery Technique for Teaching Lexis

Hanna Kryszewska, Poland

Hanna Kryszewska is a teacher, teacher trainer, trainer of trainers. She is a senior lecturer at the University of Gdańsk, and EU Teacher Training College where she trains pre-service teachers. She is also Director of Studies at SWPS, Sopot, Poland. She is co-author of resource books: Learner Based Teaching, OUP, Towards Teaching, Heinemann, The Standby Book, CUP, Language Activities for Teenagers, CUP and a course book series for secondary schools: ForMat, Macmillan. She is also co-author of a video based teacher training course: Observing English Lessons. Hania is a Pilgrims trainer and editor of HLT Magazine.


What is BNC
Single words
Words often confused
Common errors
Technical tips
References and further reading

What is BNC

British National Corpus is a database of approximately one hundred million words of various English texts. You can access it free of charge at

What you get is sample sentences ( maximum 50) containing the word or phrase of your choice, for example:

Results of your search

Your query was

Here is a random selection of 50 solutions from the 131363 found.

These sentences are a prefect material on which we can base ‘discovery technique’ activities. They are an excellent way to supplement and vary our regular methodology of language teaching and the texts we use. Working with these sentences fosters the inductive approach in teaching, encourages learner autonomy and introduces blended learning. This article focuses in teaching lexis.

Single words

  1. Choose a word that you want to draw the students’ attention to.
  2. Look up the BNC. Type into the box ‘enter text’ the word you want to work on.(see below).

    BNC Simple Search

    Look up:
    Enter text
  3. Call up the page on the screen in class or prepare printouts to be used in the lesson.
  4. Ask the students to notice in what lexical context and/ or place in the sentence the word appears.
  5. Discuss the findings with the class.

Example: In the example below the students worked with the word ‘galore’. They discovered that the word which can mean ‘a lot’ is used at the end of a noun phrase or sentence.

Results of your search

Your query was

Here is a random selection of 50 solutions from the 125 found.


AAV 624 Beyond the tabloid visions wars galore, Catastrophies disasters by the score, Plagues and famines — countless thousands died.

ABJ 444 There are useful similes: a degenerate aristocrat ‘is like rhubarb, a contemptible shrub that springs from a noble root’; and there are aphorisms galore.

ACE 1365 Tarts galore.

AHF 367 Here, there were Tories, children, animals — and photo-opportunities — galore.

AHK 841 Chances galore at both ends could have produced a scoreline usually reserved for end-of-season testimonials.

AM0 199 Florida, ‘The Sunshine State’, has an idyllic, almost tropical climate, the world's largest concentration of theme parks, beautiful scenery inland, water sports galore and amazing nightlife; the perfect holiday destination.

AM0 347 The South, where we are based, is a holidaymaker's paradise with its fantastic wide, sandy beaches, sports facilities galore, high quality modern accommodation and an abundance of night-spots.

AMW 222 And there were prizes galore for everything from swimming — there are an incredible FOUR pools — to mini-golf or skittles or boules or…

AMY 436 Chapter Two: 1909 to 1956 — Hazards Galore

AN2 1053 Problems galore

AYM 1369 And there's more — Number Ones galore, from falsetto king Jimmy Jones' Good Timin' to Conway Twitty's It's Only Make Believe …hard-driving, hipswinging dance-hall blasters like Sandy Nelson's Let There Be Drums and Little Eva's The Locomotion …and the pick of songs honouring the softer side of rock…the Platters' The Great Pretender , Sam Cooke's You Send Me and Tab Hunter's Young Love to name just three.

AYM 1406 Memories galore of first dates, teenage crushes, high-school dances and rocking until midnight — captured forever in chartbusters like these…

B0L 637 There were fouls galore, and the Town, to their credit, admitted the disgrace: ‘If what we served up on Saturday is football, well, the sooner its death knell is sounded the better; may we go further and say that never do we wish to see anything like it again.’


C87 1488 There were posters galore!

C88 868 Gardens galore

C9N 387 Galore on the floor from Korg…

CA9 665 Tom Jones stands in the corridor like a James Bond poster — legs apart, arms folded, surrounded by pussy galore.

CBC 14716 But with more accessible countries such as Kenya offering cheaper deals, bigger hotels and big game galore, why choose Botswana?

CBJ 869 William was born on Monday 9 April 1849 — the only one not to bear a middle Christian name, but then, of course, there had been William Titfords galore back to the 17th century, so the boy was in good company.

CFJ 1755 Bless me, there's flies and midges galore!’

CFT 3356 For kick offs, there's the excitement of Goals Galore, Saves Galore and The Race For The Championship at £9.99 each.

CFU 35 Cheltenham is justly famous for its reputation as one of the country's leading antique centres, where objets d'art, fine furniture and paintings galore are displayed in traditional Regency settings.

CGU 956 I hope that you are all now inspired to knit jackets and cardigans galore just to practice buttonholes.

CH7 4593 Stablemate Mr Brooks ran on to take second, with Canadian challenger Diamonds Galore a brave third, but only one horse counted.

CH7 4602 Diamonds Galore's jockey Aaron Gryder could hardly believe that his horse had been murdered by a youngster.

CHB 284 ‘Gimmie Indie Rock’ neatly traces the lineage of the American alternative, from the VU and The Stooges to hardcore and then Sonic Youth, Pussy Galore, Dinosaur and Hüsker Dü.

CR8 1683 There are exemptions galore (eg, for seamen, hospital workers and journalists).

CR9 1268 Ranchers boast of their family-run operations, threatened by creeping urbanisation (‘condos galore by 2004’); environmentalists talk darkly of large corporations, indifferent to the condition of the land, who are well able to pay the market rate for private forage, about $1.00 per AUM.

EB3 1523 With bright pavilions, seats galore,

EBW 2253 Grand gleanings galore

ECS 1274 Its well stocked gantry includes 100 whiskies, Schnapps, Cherry Vodka, Tequila, Saki, Calvados and exotic drinks galore.

EER 126 Outside the Rare Breeds area, other things will be going on: dog and pony events; poultry and other fowl both on display and for sale; goats galore and rural crafts of all types.

FBL 2459 Officer McIntosh, a striking blue-eyed blonde who looked like Honor Blackman as acrobatic flyer Pussy Galore in Goldfinger , was observing.

FBN 1210 There's ‘new’ media in the Hagen BioLife unit featured on these pages, and there's been new media galore flooding into the PFK office recently.

G2D 2238 And to top all of this, there will be competitions galore, with terrific holidays, goods and equipment to be won at a number of stands.

H06 20 Packed with meat (92% min), they are gutsy and flavourful and can be bought at a few outlets in London and Oxfordshire, or direct (no mail order) from Bangers Galore,

HHB 413 I've barbecued chops and sausages galore.’

HPY 444 Likewise, the behaviour of galore should receive a historical explanation of exactly the same sort, being derived from the Gaelic gu leòr, an adverbial phrase that can be translated literally as to sufficiency.

K1W 3253 Still to come on Central News…goals galore!

K24 2836 goals galore again at hereford…

K4W 9328 Jumble galore:

K52 7126 — IT WAS surprises galore for Shotley Bridge Victory Social Club's retiring treasurer John Edgar when his fellow officials laid on a special party night to mark his 31 years on the management committee.

K5D 1977 Everyone knows there is, ahem, gratification galore to be had upon its arrival.

K6U 964 Oh yes, they had parties galore.

K9L 539 I simulate ‘what-ifs’ galore From lightning strikes to Third World War; No problems with communication — With Stratos I can reach the Nation [Except for those so low and mean They haven't got a PC screen…

KAS 255 Page three girls and Playgirls Galore.

KM3 886 Richard Lowe and Jean Terrington are the directors of Fireworks Galore in Bulwell.

KRP 1050 Title: ‘Events Galore for Eighty-eight,’ so this is a slightly dated one.


  1. Choose a word that you want to draw the students’ attention to. Choose a word that can have different meanings depending on the chunk or context it appears in.
  2. Look up the BNC. Type into the box ‘enter text’ the word you want to work on.(see below).

    BNC Simple Search

    Look up:
    Enter text
  3. Call up the page on the screen in class or prepare printouts to be used in the lesson.
  4. Ask the students to notice in what lexical context or chunks the word appears in. Ask the students to underline the chunks and identify the different meanings of the word.
  5. Discuss the findings with the class.

Example: In the example below the students worked with the word ‘slouch’. They discovered that the word has a number of meanings and can be a verb or a noun, e.g. way of sitting, an awkward fellow, not bad/pretty good, type of hat

etc. This exercise is a very good preparation for the ‘gapped sentences’ task in the ESOL CAE and CPE exams.

Results of your search

Your query was

Only 49 solutions found for this query

A0K 473 Their need for thick-lensed ‘John Lennon’ spectacles implies they are physically imperfect as they slouch or lean against props; for these lazy, untidy creatures have techniques of the body which reveal major structuring principles of police thinking.

A0R 2907 The one with the slouch hat.

A27 239 Chomsky is no slouch either.

A5W 172 Well, he thought Jesus Christ was no slouch there.

ABG 747 Mr Smick, no slouch, suggested that he write an article for the International Economy, a magazine that Johnson Smick publish, in the form of a letter to the G7.

ABS 724 Having been told by the gentleman at passenger enquiries that the Lowestoft train is one of the few in Britain to retain six-seater compartments, I am fully prepared to adopt my usual routine for such occasions; I intend to rush on, secure an empty compartment, slide the door behind me, adopt the brazen-hussy-like pose of an Amsterdam whore in her front window (tongue rolling out and knees wide apart, as I slouch across the upholstery), crook my index finger and beckon slowly at any commuters passing along the corridor outside who are considering invading my territory.

AHU 1256 Guscott would not exactly be a slouch as a running back, either.

ARK 1826 But Horowitz, who had been born in Hungary, was no slouch himself at communications.

ASD 819 And I've had at least three real girlfriends, so there must be more to me than bad skin, frizzy hair and a slouch.

ASN 1298 About thirty-five, he was tall and running to fat, his once handsome features now puffed out, his stance a round-shouldered slouch.

B73 1516 Wolfgang Pauli (no slouch) waited three years before committing his invented new particle, the neutrino, to print, and then only as a footnote.

BM4 1855 Carpenter's speed and control was even causing problems for Harris, himself no slouch, and Farnham's hearts must have been in their mouths when the Cranleigh number 10, having broken clear on the right, hit the deck after a late challenge by Cann who had raced out of his area.

C9K 2003 No slouch on the guitar himself, Matthew has recently expanded his working instrument collection…

C9L 1944 Snail's Pace Slim,Guitarist contributor, lead Hamster and no slouch with a chunk of tubing himself, rates Landreth's recent showcase at the Borderline Club in London as the most astonishing display of bottleneck guitar he's ever seen.

CB4 776 If you slouch, you could be doing yourself harm.

CD9 213 A short but commanding figure with bristling sideboards, an underslung slouch and a heavily ridged face, Emerson is not the sort of Brazilian most people expect to meet.

CKC 2941 Your engineer officer, McCafferty, is no slouch either and neither is mine.

EA9 160 You should walk with a brisk step which indicates that you are interested in your job, never slouch along, droop your shoulders or flop awkwardly in a chair; your head should be held high, your shoulders back; you should walk gracefully with good body line, and sit and bend down elegantly.

EBS 2501 James Lee Byars, who is no slouch himself in the mystical department, deploys white marble balls at Mary Boone (until the 25th).

EBU 2542 Sloan no slouch himself in the cantankerous department was not of much help.

EDE 175 And when Hoggart turned his attention to the ‘juke box boys’ who were a recognisable strain of early Teds —‘boys between fifteen and twenty, with drape-suits, picture ties, and an American slouch’— even the slouch was, characteristically, identified as ‘Americanised’and hence ‘postwar’and ‘un-British’, as the boys sipped their milk-shakes and tapped their feet to the music in their milk-bar rendezvous:

EDE 175 And when Hoggart turned his attention to the ‘juke box boys’ who were a recognisable strain of early Teds —‘boys between fifteen and twenty, with drape-suits, picture ties, and an American slouch’— even the slouch was, characteristically, identified as ‘Americanised’and hence ‘postwar’and ‘un-British’, as the boys sipped their milk-shakes and tapped their feet to the music in their milk-bar rendezvous:

EE1 352 As detailed and illustrated in ‘MI ’ No.14, the enlisted men's basic uniform consisted of a dark blue wool, five-button, rolling-collar ‘sack coat’and light blue kersey trousers; a dark blue visored ‘pill-box’forage cap was worn with barracks dress, a light brown slouch field hat for other duties.

EE1 364 In the field, line officers wore black or brown slouch drab hats, officially with mixed black and gold hat cords, though photographs show many worn without cords.

EE1 413 Again, this slouch hat has no officer's cords.

EE1 420 Above: Unidentified regular infantry unit in field dress; the fact that some enlisted men wear the crossed rifles on the left side of their slouch hats presumably dates the photograph after July 1899, when the badge was authorized (though for wear on the front).

FAC 642 (i)slimy ,sleazy ,slut ,slouch ,slovenly ,slob ,slattern ,slither ,slink , etc. (ii)glow ,glimmer ,gleam ,glisten ,glitter ,glare , etc. and possibly the vowel in (iii)coon ,goofy ,goon ,loony ,fool ,drool ,moon (around),noodle (fig.), etc.

FT8 1185 According to Borland, Paradox 4 is between five and ten times faster than Version 3.5 — a program that was never accused of being a slouch — and on most tasks it reportedly matches or beats FoxPro, Microsoft's swift dBase lookalike, which previously outpaced all comers.

FT8 1272 But dBase is no slouch, and there have been no major bug reports, or complaints about existing files failing to run, so maybe the chosen mix is good enough.

FT8 2442 The CTX low-radiation monitor is no slouch either, but the drivers produce lousy dithered colours within Window's default colour scheme.

G2W 747 And her father, no slouch on the Nordic circuit himself, has agreed to let her take five years out of education to become a champion.

GV8 3338 ‘I mean, Emma's no slouch in the looks department, as you know, but this Cindy of yours is like — well, like something turned out by a machine.

GVY 1618 Clad in their khaki-coloured canvas, with slouch hat, high, thick-soled boots, with a tin mug strapped to their belt and their gunny-sack crammed to bursting point with gold-pan, pick, axe, and other impedimenta, they left the railway at Kelso, the railway point nearest the gold fields.

H8M 466 She has a greyness under her eyes and a slouch from spending most of the day on her feet.

H9C 147 Corbett allowed Ranulf to slouch sleepily in the saddle and waited for Dame Agatha to draw alongside him.

HAC 114 Performance-wise the SIR is no slouch.

HGF 1958 Somewhere in the cut of his deep-navy suit, Raymond had lost his old man's slouch.

HGN 3199 Above one window, Sarah Bernhardt plays a boyish Hamlet, next to a postcard of the painter Gluck, all Semitic profile, slouch hat and cool androgyny.

HH0 1965 They loosen their ties and slouch against the wall with hands in pockets in manufactured nonchalance.

HNX 745 I park my wreck beside the lorries that slouch

HTW 1079 He pulled on the coat, adjusted a slouch hat and picked up the overnight bag she had prepared.

HX8 2939 Remember to carry yourself well — it is so easy to slouch in an off-duty moment.

J25 236 When it came to writing slogans James Joyce proved himself no slouch.

J56 403 The airman just replied, at's full of bullshit,"and he did not alter his sloppy slouch on the way either.

K4M 347 ‘To be world champion you can't be any slouch.

K97 4046 His second to Party Politics in the Grand National marked him down as a stayer, but he is by no means a slouch over shorter trips.

KD5 7066 It's cos they don't sit in the seat properly, they slouch in them!

KPW 899 And don't slouch, put your shoulders back, boy!

KPW 903 You slouch like that.

Words often confused

  1. Choose two words that you want to work with. These need to be words often confused by your students. This exercise will help them to understand their problems.
  2. Look up the BNC. Type into the box ‘enter text’ the word you want to work on.(see below).

    BNC Simple Search

    Look up:
    Enter text
  3. Call up the pages on the screen in class or prepare printouts to be used in the lesson.
  4. Ask the students to notice in what different lexical context the words appear. Ask them to generate a rule.
  5. Discuss the findings with the class, e.g. what prepositions it goes with is it used with passive or active verbs etc.

Example: In the example below the students worked with the words ‘lend’ and ‘borrow’.

Results of your search

Your query was

Here is a random selection of 50 solutions from the 1254 found.

AL2 16 The life operations will go to Lend Lease, Australia's third largest life office, for about £76m, while the loss-making general side of the business is being bought by QBE, a big general insurer, for £58m.

AN3 1543 There is some disagreement about the size of the informal proletariat, which is not surprising given that its informal nature does not lend itself to the gathering of statistic, but most commentators see it representing about 40–60 per cent of the economically active population.

ASY 436 To attempt such a separation tends to lend colour to a distinction often drawn within the curriculum at school or within the range of subjects studied in higher education between the useful and the useless.

B0K 900 The dairy-type conformation does not lend itself readily to beef production and though steers will fatten they grow rather slowly.

B0N 1401 It does not immediately lend itself to action on the part of the adviser.

BMS 360 Not dear Julia's pretty little girl, or David's daughter who keeps hanging round the theatre, nor even Brian's big sister who'd lend the gang a quid for a video if they were skint.

BMV 372 Yet whatever they did with their talents, the one thing, notoriously, which wealthy men in the Middle Ages were not permitted to do was to lend their money at interest.

CAE 1750 The likes of John Lydon, Michael Stipe and even Richard Thompson lend their memorable voices to huge mad riffbastards of songs, all tied up with Fier's Bonham-type drums.

CBF 12776 ‘I got out a ball gown to lend to a neighbour and found it had been cheaply dry-cleaned,’ she said.

CBN 1052 Mauve said no, he should get a bed: he would lend him the money.

CBY 247 ‘The pattern of study leave block release — doesn't lend itself to the smaller offices or indeed to business organisations.

CBY 1126 It is also questionable whether all types of organisations lend themselves to empowerment.

CCE 1533 Death is always a failure in hospital, and the business and routine of life in the medical and surgical wards do not lend themselves to a personal death (Sudnow 1967).

CDM 786 ‘I've come ter ask yer, if we carn't 'ave the 'all, would yer be kind enough ter lend us some crocks an' chairs?

EA5 178 The young lads at the club ain't very 'appy, an' accordin' ter my information they're all willin' ter lend us an 'and ter knock up a timber buildin'.

EC2 76 To lend yet more weight to the advertising ban campaign, a coalition of 29 medical organisations, representing virtually all the UK's 85,000 doctors, has been formed under the title ‘Doctors for Tobacco Law’.

EE0 326 So we look to organisations who will lend the money to us, on condition that we undertake to repay the loan from our income over a specified period of time.

EEE 904 He was on sufficiently good terms with the prince's chamberlain, Sir Thomas Vaughan, for Vaughan to lend him his London house in the 1470s, and although this relationship did not survive Richard's usurpation, other servants of the prince transferred to Richard's household after his accession.

EFV 973 Normally, however, the church, in its desire for peace and undisturbed enjoyment of its own material wealth, could be relied upon to lend the weight of spiritual sanctions in support of the sword of power wielded by princes.

EVJ 718 Both these latter points, though Macdonald does not connect them, appear to lend some force to the arguments of Edinburgh employers that by the end of the century, they were not so much drawing extra work to Edinburgh as desperately trying to stem an inexorable decline of the Edinburgh trade, occasioned both by its geographical distance from London (incurring freight costs and inconvenience, which would have affected bookbinding equally) and by its comparatively high rents and cost of living (as compared to country towns like Frome).

F71 3 I didn't know at that time what the content of the exhibition was because Sarah who organised it all had to write to lots of people and arrange the loans and you know it is fairly recently that we discovered for example the tate would lend, their pictures because its very rare that they do, erm, and, so we thought the next best thing, when I discovered the change of dates would be to have slides of the pictures that Sue was using, but erm oh dear then wonderful that Sue was using a another book and this term allocated and I wasn't able to get the slides she picked, it was my fault that they're not on slide due to the amount of time that we had to do this.

F9B 163 Indeed the highest incidence of minority opinions was dissent by the chairman which could be said to lend weight to the second view, though a more probable explanation is that the lay members took a view on the merits which the chairman regarded as untenable in law.

FC4 329 This report is prepared to enable the Woolwich to determine how much to lend.

FDD 434 In this context the relationship of the persuader to the patient — for example, spouse, parents or religious adviser — will be important, because some relationships more readily lend themselves to overbearing the patient's independent will than do others.

G3E 777 But I've asked him to lend me some money.

GW3 1230 ‘There were three of us, actually; Jimmy brought Morley Richards with him to lend a hand.’

GXG 4832 Please lend your support to by writing to Tim Eggar MP, Minister for Energy, Department of Trade & Industry, Ashdown House, 123 Victoria Street, London SW1E 6RB.

H07 1498 When biscuit-tin bashing gets boring, lend your toddler a real musical instrument for a treat.

H7S 569 The formal nature of the signature does indeed suggest that Molla Fenari was signing the document in an official capacity (cf. the informal nature of the problematical signature, cited on p. 155 of Husameddin's article and discussed below, where Molla Fenari has clearly been asked simply to lend his name to the proceedings); and while he was most probably acting as kadi of Bursa, as the biographical sources would suggest, it should be noted that the signature is not in itself conclusive proof of this.

H7T 1563 This system enables banks to lend longer term because they can be certain of having deposits, as lenders can realize their asset at any time.

HAF 552 ‘No bank would lend him the money but Harry made it work.’

HBR 201 Since the SSL had received an increasing number of enquiries about standards, and as BSI now places restrictions on the type of standards it is willing to lend, the SSL now has complete sets of the Standards of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) and the American Society for Testing of Materials (ASTM), and Comité Consultatif International Télégraphique et Téléphonique (CCITT) blue books.

HL1 804 Gandhi indicated, however, his willingness to lend "outside" support to Chandra Shekhar.

HLH 2598 Several NATO representatives suggested that "NATO could lend material support or even troops to the CSCE if needed and if agreed by our member countries" , in the words of the Dutch Foreign Minister, Hans van den Broek.

HNL 586 Since borrowers prefer to borrow long and lenders prefer to lend short, investors have to be compensated by a liquidity premium to forgo liquidity, and this increases with term to maturity.

HP1 868 Do we feel at all inclined to lend them money?

HXB 901 (g) To lend and advance money or give credit on any terms with or without security to any person, firm or company (including without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing any holding company, subsidiary or fellow subsidiary of, or any other company associated in any way with, the Company), to enter into guarantees, contracts of indemnity and suretyships of all kinds, to receive money on deposit or loan upon any terms, and to secure or guarantee in any manner and upon any terms the payment of any sum of money or the performance of any obligation by any person, firm or company (including without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing any such holding company, subsidiary, fellow subsidiary or associated company as aforesaid).

HY1 144 The ability to borrow and lend stock is an important facility and enables market makers more easily to take long positions (large holdings) and short positions (low or negative holdings) of stocks.

HY9 256 The establishment of the Bank of England in 1694 meant that the government was now assured of loans at favourable rates, but always on a Parliamentary basis, since the Bank was forbidden to lend without Parliament's approval.

J7A 1182 There is some support for the proposition that such a loan, if made to a person fully capable of repaying the same and, for instance, charged against property in the United Kingdom, gives the taxpayer minimal benefit from the case of O"Leary v McKinlay [1991]STC 42 where Vinelott J at p51, dealing with a Schedule E beneficial loan, stated the following: If an employer lends money to an employee free of interest or at a favourable rate of interest and if the employee is free to exploit the money in any manner he chooses his employment cannot be said to have been the source of the income derived from the exploitation; the employer is the source of the money and the taxpayer is assessable to tax under Sch E on the benefit to him of obtaining the loan on the terms on which the loan was made; but if the loan is repayable on demand that benefit cannot be quantified and form the basis of an assessment under Sch E. It is arguable if property is held by a non-resident trust for A for life and B absolutely that if the trustees lend money to A at interest then if A allows the trustees not to pursue him in his capacity as borrower for the interest that no benefit will arise.

JT3 1263 Building societies traditionally lend three times your N R E.

K23 3632 Now it's in urgent need of blankets to lend to those forced to sleep rough.

K93 1214 If I give him money he goes and spends it If I lend him the bike he loses it He's completely unreliable

K94 1920 A country that has a balance of payments surplus may receive payment from the debtor's foreign exchange reserves, receive the balance in gold, leave the money in the debtor country and use it to purchase goods and services in the future, or lend the debtor country the money to pay off the debt and receive interest on the loan in the meantime.

KBL 4291 Hey, did you say you lend , lend the one then.

KC1 196 I said if it doesn't come in at two anyway and I'll lend you something

KCT 9283 I was told I should lend that classroom to them I can't ge really get out first and that should be my turn to be out first today.

KP2 949 lend me, I know you're recording me

KPG 3043 When can I lend it?

KSS 2287 And we'll lend you some but I'm never without money.

Results of your search

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Here is a random selection of 50 solutions from the 1423 found.

A7A 1545 ‘He wanted to borrow some money.

A7J 26 It had been a simple matter after that to slip down to Mike Quinn, who was an acknowledged authority on all aspects of the disease by virtue of his ownership of one book, and borrow his Encyclopaedia of Human Ailments .

AAS 192 But, in order to buy rather than rent their own homes, Britain's nine million home buyers now have to borrow an average of £37,000 — more than twice the average income — whereas 10 years ago the average loan of £11,800 worked out at 1.7 times income.

ABH 1576 Many Germans seem to have convinced themselves that by ‘taking Gorbachev at his word’(to borrow a phrase of the currently almost speechless Hans-Dietrich Genscher, the foreign minister), they could ensure that things went well in the Soviet Union; and that Saddam Hussein could be shifted without war.

AT7 2567 I really had to borrow the fare here.’

AYP 1182 We will be glad to talk to you about this before you borrow.

CBX 4225 If you borrow money from a bank and it becomes insolvent you do not have a problem.

CCB 28 Again, we borrow from the French, this time for lace or tracery.

CCT 191 What is important, of course, is the way that while some individuals save more than average, others borrow more than average.

CCT 271 A potential result of such strong attitudes against credit is that when financial pressures mount to the point where they override a reluctance to borrow, the reluctant borrower may want to borrow covertly — that is, borrow from an informal-seeming local lender rather than from a recognised lending institution such as a bank.

CCT 1347 pressures to borrow: credit cards and loans

CEE 649 I could have run away, but I had no money and, even if I had been able to borrow it, I should still have been too frightened because I had nowhere to run to.

CRF 75 It is likely that such evidence would show up ethnic and cultural variations; for example, Anwar reports that it is common for migrants from Pakistan to borrow money from kin for major purchases such as a house or a business, but there is a strong obligation to return this loan fully and quickly (Anwar, 1985, p. 72).

CRS 1001 To borrow from the classic language of the history of slavery, parents in this sense are ‘physically alive but socially dead’: we do not see them.

CS4 1876 ‘Do you mind if I borrow it?’

EE0 289 You must be careful not to borrow more money that you can afford to repay.

EFU 1014 "A noble breakfast," says George Borrow of the morning meal offered him at an inn at Bala in North Wales, "there was tea and coffee, a goodly white loaf and butter, there were a couple of eggs and two mutton chops — there was boiled and pickled salmon — fried trout also potted trout and potted shrimps."

EFU 1019 George Borrow was writing of Wild Wales in the eighteen-fifties.

FEU 489 Would you not be highly suspicious of the mechanic who services your car, if you found that he did not buy or borrow his most important tools, did not know how to use them, never looked into a tool-shop window and had had no instruction in the use of the tools from the foreman?

FRJ 458 The more weapons they could capture — or preferably beg, borrow or buy — the better their chances.

G0F 2919 You invited him in for a glass of sherry to ask him if you could borrow his bicycle, and I came too.’

G12 2935 ‘I can borrow it?’ cried Dyson, flaring up at once.

G1D 2619 Camille, who had sneaked in unseen to borrow the garlic-crusher, overheard this exchange and smiled.

GXJ 1366 A second area of made ground was present to the east of Langloan and was thought to be a backfilled clay borrow pit.

H0F 3478 I'll borrow my brother's Lambretta so that we can just sit for a whole hour and then I'll drive you home.

HAE 169 Jack calmly walked up to a stranger on a bench and asked: ‘Can I borrow a fag?’

HGM 766 ‘How much did he borrow?’

HH5 589 I had now used most of my silver and, despite our profits, had to draw heavily, even borrow some more from the goldsmith, Waller, in his musty old shop in Mercery.

HHN 167 The group members have not been idle during their enforced stay from Glenburrell Bridge as we have been helping out on the Society's stall at local shows as well as building Thomas, The Tank Engine and, having purchased the show stand that we used to borrow, we are now adapting this stand for our own use at shows.

HHX 18622 The Funding Council shall not borrow money from any source, give any guarantee or indemnity or create any trust or security over or in respect of any of their property which was acquired, improved or maintained wholly or partly, directly or indirectly out of funds provided by the Secretary of State under section Payment of grants, etc. to Funding Council of this Act or from the proceeds of or any consideration for the disposal of any property so acquired, improved or maintained.

HRS 625 You can borrow up to six items at any one time and most items you borrow are due back in 28 days (not a month), but some in heavy demand are due back in 14 days.

HUL 2 Now for copyright reasons, if you want to do the Blind Watchmaker, and I'd very much like you to, you've gotta borrow the disk from me, okay?

HWL 3140 ‘Actually, I'll need to borrow your gaff on Sunday, if that's okay.’

HXG 1185 A non-assertive quality can also be perceived to underlie the following use, which Jacobsson, strangely enough, feels to be a "separate category" — what he calls the "marginal use of auxiliary need in conditional clauses" (p. 62, fn 17):(24) If you need borrow money at all, borrow as little as possible.

HYB 1522 In an unusual analogy Coleridge described people as "tanks" or "springs" according to the way they borrow ideas from others: "tanks" just take over ideas and store them like water; "springs" adopt them, producing a stream of water and so making them their own.

J15 971 Whether there is a PSBR or a PSDR, it is clear that the method the government uses to borrow or pay back debt will affect how much the money supply changes.

J1A 1118 For the discussion of these categories it will be helpful to borrow the very clever metaphors with which Joseph Joachim, the famous 19th-century violinist, characterized the types of staccato as ‘snow, ‘rain’ and ‘hail’.

JYC 1835 ‘Could I possibly borrow some money?’ she asked, turing in her seat to look at him.

K5M 3522 The problem which the Chancellor faced was that failure to tackle the fiscal deficit could not only leave him having to borrow nearly £1 billion a week in the coming year.

K92 1351 Those with loans from banks may borrow more in order to pay the higher interest charges.

KB1 970 But if you borrow it from a in er mortgage company, you're gonna, you're gonna borrow twice that, you gonna have to pay twice that much back.

KBE 3505 I'm gonna borrow your husband a minute sit on the floor.

KCW 374 Can I just borrow it please?

KD8 7611 Well can I borrow it then, take a copy?

KDA 4240 Can I borrow yours Mark?

KDW 6778 why don't you borrow theirs?,

KGW 268 Interestingly enough I've got a book er back in my office about things like T V comedy and situation comedy and stuff like that and also y'know kind of variety sort of comedy with sketches and s y'know Two Ronnies, Monty Pythons and stuff erm would that be of any use to you if you were to borrow it?

KP3 497 If you start talking can I borrow them?

KSN 803 You know the games like I can borrow them, if that's all, look at that, brilliant graphics.

KSV 4781 oh, oh, I'll borrow Wings of Love

Common errors

  1. Choose a phrase your students misuse.
  2. Look up the BNC. Type into the box ‘enter text’ the word you want to work on.(see below).

    BNC Simple Search

    Look up:
    Enter text
  3. Call up the page on the screen in class or prepare printouts to be used in the lesson.
  4. Ask the students to notice in what lexical context the phrase appears. Ask them to draw conclusions about their misuse of the phrase.
  5. Discuss the findings with the class.

Example: In the example below the students worked with the phrase ‘make a career’. My students often produce the sentence: ”He made a career”. Thanks to the exercise they realised that ‘made a career’ is usually followed by one of the four: ’in….’, ‘out of…’, ‘for +REFLEXIVE’, ‘as…’. They can also see how rarely the phrase stands on its own.

Results of your search

Your query was

make a career
Only 26 solutions found for this query

A17 1543 Keith Waugh has managed to make a career in the RAF a family concern — and is making a tremendous success of it.

ADP 447 I wanted to make a career for myself outside Salzburg.

ASC 1306 The designs were by Hanns Ebensten, his last collaboration with John, because he gave up his ambitions to make a career in stage design after he had visited the homes of two other ballet designers, both highly regarded and much in demand, but both living in very modest circumstances.

AT1 591 They managed to avoid the panning reserved for contemporaries like Bogshed who were termed: ‘Four twisted misanthropes trying to make a career out of sneering at people’ by Dave Jennings in the NME .

B73 2016 Although Haworth had intended to make a career in the chemical industry, he won a scholarship which enabled him to go to Gottingen for postgraduate work.

CBY 752 But these larger firms are already cutting down on the size of their student intake and, if the trend continues, will end up — as Grant Thornton has already done — recruiting and training only staff who are expected to make a career with the firm after qualifying.

CDE 1228 She had been good at art at school and, had the war not come, she might have tried to make a career out of it.

CER 882 Having decided that he wanted to make a career in physics he enrolled at Vanderbilt University in Nashville Tennessee to study for his doctorate in experimental high energy particle physics.

CK4 1764 ‘And Spacemen 3 tried to make a career out of it.’

CL1 1230 ‘They don't mind so much now I've got a few trophies in a case that they can show their friends and boast about it,’ Carlos Francis recollected his parents' change of posture after it became evident that he could make a career out of soccer.

CM0 177 Hobson Brown, in Russell Reynolds' New York office, maintains that his firm, more effectively than the other headhunters, has attracted the first real career-search consultants, graduates from business schools who have deliberately chosen to make a career in executive search; it was always the goal of Reynolds himself to build up a business as prestigious and high-powered as Morgan Guaranty, in which an ambitious graduate would seek to work right through to retirement.

ED7 1804 But in the back of our heads we knew we could make a career together.’

FBL 722 He admires actors like Robert Redford and Warren Beatty — who have managed to overcome their good looks and make a career.

FET 1962 Wilkie — a genius — effortless Firsts — but perhaps still ready to give up and make a career in the theatre.

FS6 1149 It is also a practical answer to the difficulties of continuing to maintain and staff isolated institutions in an age when few people are prepared to make a career in residential work.

G12 1759 How can I possibly make a career for myself when you keep on, nag, nag, nag, about patches of mould on the ceiling?’

GT5 218 Thinking that he preferred to make a career in journalism, after failing his second professional examination in 1882, he signed on as an able seaman, went from Port Mackay to the South Sea Islands to study the traffic in Kanaka islanders, and published his findings in the Melbourne Age , arousing considerable controversy.

GU7 228 He was one of the first eminent European scientists to make a career in the USA, and rapidly became a lion: his lectures and books were popular, and he built up a school and museum at Harvard.

HGE 3833 ‘I really cannot expect you to accept me after the way in which I have behaved, and then was wicked enough to read your private book, and the cuttings are there, I knew that you would want them back, and I expect that you will wish to make a career in journalism, and why accept a poor doctor, no need to do that, you can always live on your father's allowance and what a remarkable man he is, so like you, or earn your living by your pen…’

HGM 535 He never took into account that Eddie didn't really want to make a career as a racing driver —’

HTE 2528 A degree in Politics is one of the best first degree courses for a student wanting to make a career in business, administration, the media, voluntary bodies or central and local government.

HX3 488 We assess our assistant stewardesses for promotion to other areas of work aboard the cruise ship which makes this job a very good entry level for those who wish to make a career in the industry and we also run a training scheme for our housekeeping department.

K1Y 2431 Now he plans to make a career of it.

K20 1462 Tanker 1471's navigator is unemployed at the moment and would like to make a career of the air guard.

K25 3503 After his injury in the 400 metre semi final at the Barcelona Olympics, he had hoped to make a career in basketball.

K5F 899 The experience so thrilled her that she decided to make a career of it, and by the age of 10 she had performed in three Broadway shows.

Technical tips

  1. When you look up the sentences some of them may be too difficult for your class. Sometimes too many sentences are similar to one another. Therefore, you may choose to trim the collection of sentences. This will speed up the activity. But it means more work, ‘copying and pasting’ and then photocopying.
  2. Every time you look up BNC Simple Search you get a different set of sentences. So if you prepare some materials at home and then call up the same information in class you will most likely get a different set of sentences.

References and further reading


The Teaching Advanced Students course can be viewed here
The Basic IT in the Classroom can be viewed here
The Using Technology in the Classroom – Level 2 course can be viewed here

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